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Katie Holmes

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Not long ago, Katie Holmes was the Wednesday-night crush of The WB, starring for six seasons on Dawson’s Creek as Joey Potter, whose life-altering dilemma was choosing between two loves, Dawson or Pacey. Nowadays, Holmes, 24, is dealing with other choices – and thanks to a busy big-screen career, she’s got plenty of ’em. The actress, whose credits include Wonder Boys and The Gift, is earning her indie cred in two new movies: The Singing Detective, starring Robert Downey Jr., and Pieces of April.

In April, Holmes plays an eccentric daughter who invites her straitlaced family to Thanksgiving dinner at her apartment. She recently talked to PEOPLE about her own family’s Thanksgiving, as well as her career after Dawson and life in L.A. with her boyfriend, American Pie actor Chris Klein.

Your turkey-cooking skills are on display in Pieces of April. What’s Thanksgiving like with your family?
My mom would probably kill me, but last year, the turkey … she usually puts it on the porch the night before, to keep it cold. We live in Ohio, so it’s cold. But it froze. And she didn’t know it. So the turkey took longer to cook than usual, and it threw everything else off, so it wasn’t a good year for her.

I’ve never attempted to cook a turkey. (In the film) I didn’t really enjoy the washing of the turkey, sticking my hand in it to pull out all the innards … Ugh! So gross. I like to cook, but I’m not into the whole turkey, chicken kind of thing. I like fish. De-boned, easy.

Do you have any specific cooking duties for Thanksgiving?
I’m the youngest of five – so there’s no pressure. I have the important job of quality control. On Wednesday (before Thanksgiving), my friend and I test the stuffing and add the appropriate amounts of sage, salt and pepper. And I do a lot of work in preparing for that. I try not to eat too much that day so I’m fully ready to have a lot of stuffing. It works out pretty well.

How do you feel about the critical kudos you’ve earned for April?
It’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s a really amazing script. I feel like it’s an ensemble movie. And I’m really proud of it. I don’t really think about what the critics are saying – though it’s really flattering.

After all those years shooting Dawson’s Creek in North Carolina, is there any adjustment to living in L.A.?
I like living in L.A. (I do) a lot of drugs. No, no, no … I’m kidding. Nothing out of the ordinary. It kind of is an odd culture. It’s nice to be there, but at the same time, I like to travel.

Do you live with your boyfriend (Klein) in L.A.?
That’s our business. But thank you for wondering.

But things are good with you two?
Things are very good. Thank God.

Do you ever miss your old pals from the Creek?
I miss them very much. I’m starting to have a greater appreciation for the show and the whole experience. I should have turned it on (this morning). I think it’s fun to watch because you remember with every scene that day, what you were going through at the time. I see (my costars) every once in a while and we stay in touch. We’d all be complaining if we were back there. It was a long time. But I’d do TV again. Probably not right away because it’s a lot of work.